Hong Kong

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
中華人民共和國香港特別行政區 (traditional Chinese)
Jūng'wàh Yàhnmàhn Guhng'wòhgwok Hēunggóng Dahkbiht Hàhngjingkēui (Cantonese Yale romanisation)
Special administrative region
City flower:
Location of Hong Kong within China
Location of Hong Kong within China
StatusSpecial administrative region
Official languages
Official scripts
Ethnic groups (2016)
GovernmentDevolved executive-led autonomous system within socialist republic
Carrie Lam
Matthew Cheung
Paul Chan
Teresa Cheng
Andrew Leung
Geoffrey Ma
National representation
36 deputies (of 2,924)
203 delegates[7]
LegislatureLegislative Council
Autonomy within the People's Republic of China
26 January 1841
29 August 1842
18 October 1860
9 June 1898
25 December 1941
to 30 August 1945

1 July 1997
• Total
2,755[8] km2 (1,064 sq mi) (168th)
• Water (%)
59.8 (1,649 km2; 637 sq mi)[9]
• 2017 estimate
7,409,800[10] (100th)
• Density
6,777[11]/km2 (17,552.3/sq mi) (4th)
GDP (PPP)2018[12] estimate
• Total
$482.101 billion (44th)
• Per capita
$64,533 (10th)
GDP (nominal)2018[12] estimate
• Total
$364.782 billion (35th)
• Per capita
$48,829 (16th)
Gini (2016)Negative increase 53.9[13]
HDI (2015)Increase 0.917[14]
very high · 12th
CurrencyHong Kong dollar (HK$) (HKD)
Time zoneHong Kong Time (UTC+8)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Drives on theleft
Calling code+852
ISO 3166 codeHK
Internet TLD

Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港; Cantonese: [hœ́ːŋ.kɔ̌ːŋ] (About this sound listen)), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in South China. With over 7.4 million Hongkongers of various nationalities[c] in a territory of 1,104 square kilometres (426 sq mi), Hong Kong is the fourth-most densely populated region in the world.

Hong Kong was formerly a colony of the British Empire, after Qing China ceded Hong Kong Island at the conclusion of the First Opium War in 1842. Originally a lightly populated area of farming and fishing villages,[16] the territory has become one of the most significant financial centres and trade ports in the world.[17] With the exception of the Second World War, during which the colony was occupied by the Empire of Japan, Hong Kong remained under British control until 1997, when it was returned to China. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system apart from mainland China.[18]

As the world's seventh-largest trading entity,[19][20] the territory's legal tender, Hong Kong dollar, is the 13th-most traded currency.[21] Hong Kong's services-dominated economy is characterised by competitive simple taxation and supported by its common law judicial system.[22] Although the city boasts one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it suffers severe income inequality.[23]

The territory features the most skyscrapers in the world, surrounding Victoria Harbour, which lies in the centre of the city's dense urban region.[24] It has a very high Human Development Index ranking and the seventh-highest life expectancy in the world.[8] Over 90% of its population makes use of well-developed public transportation.[25] Seasonal air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates in winter.[26]


Hong Kong
Hong Kong in Chinese 2.svg
"Hong Kong" in Chinese characters
Chinese 香港
Cantonese Yale Hēunggóng or Hèunggóng
Literal meaning Fragrant Harbour,
Incense Harbour[27][28]
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Traditional Chinese 香港特別行政區
Simplified Chinese 香港特别行政区
Cantonese Yale Hēunggóng Dahkbiht Hàhngjingkēui
(Hēunggóng Dahkkēui)
Hèunggóng Dahkbiht Hàhngjingkēui
(Hèunggóng Dahkkēui)

The name of the territory was first spelled as "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780,[29] and originally referred to a small inlet between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was an initial point of contact between British sailors and local fishermen.[30] The source of the romanised name is not known, but it is generally believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the Cantonese pronunciation hēung góng. The name translates to "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour".[27][28][31] "Fragrance" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's fresh water influx from the Pearl River or to the incense from factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export before Victoria Harbour developed.[31] Sir John Davis, the second colonial Governor, offered an alternative origin, claiming that the name was derived from "Hoong-keang" (meaning "red torrent"), reflecting the colour of soil through which a waterfall on the island flowed.[32] Regardless of origin, the Treaty of Nanking indicates Hong Kong Island using this name, which has referred to the entire territory ever since.[33]

The simplified name Hong Kong was frequently used by 1810,[34] though it was also written as a single word. Hongkong was common until 1926, when the government officially adopted the two-word form.[35] Some corporations founded during the early colonial era still keep this name, including Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.[36][37]